Pakistani Taliban's spokesman said the terror group had struck the aircraft with a ground-to-air missile hoping to assassinate Sharif -- who officials said had been travelling to the same region in a plane.
"A special group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had prepared a special plan to target Nawaz Sharif during his visit but he survived because he was travelling in another helicopter," militant spokesman Muhammad Khorasani said. - AFP
School building set ablaze due to chopper crash
The helicopter that crashed allegedly hit a building belonging to an army school in Gilgit-Baltistan. There was no immediate report of any casualties due on the ground.
GeoTV news reports, quoting security sources that, "initial investigations had revealed that the crash was caused by a failure in the tail rotor of the helicopter. The helicopter lost control and the hit the roof of a local school in the area. Following the crash the helicopter caught fire."
Sharif announces national day of mourning
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has announced a day of mourning following the crash in Gilgit. A statement by the PM House said Sharif’s trip to Naltar Valley had been cancelled after the Gilgit accident.
The statement went on to say that his plane was turned back without landing.
Pak army claims chopper crash landed due to tech snag
While the Pakistan Taliban has claimed responsibity for the attack, the army has maintained that the crash was due to a technical snap one of the three choppers developed while landing.
Update Naltar:2 pilots,4 foreigners fatalities.(Ambs Philippine, Norway,wives of Malaysian& Indonesian Ambs).Injured-Polish&Dutch Ambs-5
The Pakistani Taliban on Friday claimed responsibility for downing a military helicopter, killing six people including the Norwegian and Philippine envoys, and said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was their target.
"The helicopter was shot down by an anti-aircraft missile, killing pilots and many foreign ambassadors," an Urdu-language statement emailed by their main spokesman Muhammad Khorasani said.
"A special group of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan had prepared a special plan to target Nawaz Sharif during his visit but he survived because he was travelling in another helicopter," Khorasani added.
It was not immediately possible to verify the claim, but the Gilgit-Baltistan region in Pakistan's north where the chopper came down is not known as a stronghold of the militant organisation.
Officials have not yet commented on the Taliban claim. The ministry of defence issued a statement saying it was investigating what caused the crash.
An earlier statement by Sharif's office had said he was on a plane -- not helicopter -- en route to the Gilgit area at the time of the attack, but turned back to Islamabad after news of the crash broke.
A top regional administration official told AFP that Sharif was due to inaugurate a chair-lift project at a ski resort in the Naltar Valley.
The crashed helicopter was one of three carrying a delegation of ambassadors to inspect projects on a three-day trip to Gilgit-Baltistan, where the foreign envoys were set to meet with Sharif.